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Summer heat can be dangerous, take these precautions to stay safe

What health officials say is crucial for people to do when temperatures rise

NEW ORLEANS — Thursday's heat is affecting a lot of people in the area and some are starting to raise concerns about heat-related incidents and deaths because of it.

Temperatures in the 90's, mixed with high humidity have resulted in heat indexes in the triple digits. Even though people may be used to it, health officials are reminding folks that as the heat rises, so does their chance of being affected by it.

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"We lose 300 people a year to heat strokes and most of that is preventable," said Dr. James Aiken, with LSU Health Emergency Medicine at UMC.

Whether you're swinging, playing sports or even just sitting outside, you're at risk.

"They have to have plans in effect. That's number one," Aiken said. "They're not out in the heat or in the sun for more than an hour or two."

RELATED: Nearly two-thirds of sunscreens don't give you enough protection

Staying cool and wearing sun protection are important, but it's critical to stay hydrated.

"People oftentimes make the mistake that they should wait until they're thirsty, but by then it's too late," Aiken said. "So, I go by at least a quart an hour or quart every two hours. If you haven't gone to the bathroom in 4-6 hours you're dehydrated. Water is okay, but some of the health drinks that have the salts in it -- the sodium, the chloride, the potassium -- is a good way to go."

Signs of trouble include if someone is more exhausted than normal, feeling nauseous or are vomiting and if they're complaining of leg cramps. A person should also seek immediate medical attention if they're confused or can't keep up with conversations.

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